Page:Colas breugnon.djvu/91

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77
THE IDLER

son why! Stop laughing, you great fool! Get to work if you want to eat. Ah! I thought that would hit him! Now then begin, and the sooner the better."

"Of course I am going," said I, smiling sweetly. "It is a sin to stay in the house on a day like this." So back I went to the workshop and told my apprentices to come with me to Rion's woodyard to choose a long smooth plank for the work I had in hand. Cagnat, Robinet, and I went out whistling, and met my old girl on the threshold still railing at men and things.

"Don't go on so about it. Mistress," said Cagnat, "we shall be back in no time."

"I don't believe a word of it," shrieked my sweet partner.

Nine was striking on the town clock as we reached Beyant, no distance at all, but we had the manners to pause just a second at the bridge and speak to Fétu, Gadin, and Trinquet, who were sitting on the parapet watching the water—by way of beginning their working day. We had a moment's chat about nothing in particular, and then went on our way like steady responsible workmen, straight on, saying nothing to anybody, because, for one thing, there was no one on the road; but being persons of taste, we appreciated the beauties of na-